Friday, October 3, 2008

FASTING, FEASTING

Durga Puja and Navratri are here, hand in hand with Id this year, and the crisp, suddenly-cooler air is spiced with festive feeling!

Nine random thoughts for the nine festive days and nights :

1. We have arrangements for garba dancing in our housing complex, and I love to see the colourful crowd religiously and rhythmically dance away the evenings. I am your usual sedentary Bengali, more twinkle-eyed than twinkle-toed, but even after three years in Mumbai, I love watching people of all ages dancing in ever-moving but never-breaking circles, clapping their wooden dandiya sticks with perfect timing, talking while dancing but never missing a beat, entering and leaving at will without breaking the undulating pattern.
2. My two daughters share none of my toe-tied-ness, thankfully. They put on their newly acquired chaniya-cholis (long skirts with blouses), and run around the dance venue, eagerly stepping in time with the music. And the dandiya sticks, which have to be hidden for the rest of the year because of their status as potentially-dangerous-weapons, are now wielded in the cause of melody and music.
3. Their behaviour at the dandiya is typical of their essential characters. While my elder one, the Li’l Cat, is diffident and obedient, dancing a little, watching a little more, coming back when we say it’s time, her Copy-kitten sister sways and stamps with all her heart and soul, and bawls lustily when we carry her off, reluctant and refusing to leave.
4. Durga Puja begins on Shasthi (the sixth day of the new moon). Bengalis believe that Durga comes to visit her parents on earth for these five festive days. My mother has come to visit me since September, so my joy started early. I know this is reversing the usual trend of daughters visiting mothers, but what the heck! As long as mothers and daughters meet, it’s reason enough to celebrate.
5. My maa diligently observes fasting on Shasthi, eating nothing all day and breaking her fast at sundown with fruits and a divine-tasting hand-blended mix of sabudana (tapioca)-milk-sugar-banana-and-fresh-grated-coconut. Glutton that I am, I have no intention of fasting and every intention of gorging on that mom-made stuff.
6. I also love the sheer-khurma made and generously shared during Id by my Muslim colleagues at college. This rich milk-custard drips with dryfruits and calories, but the taste is worth waiting all the year for.
7. Apart from eating, the other profane festive activity that I absolutely love is shopping. And this is a time when shopping is totally-god-sanctioned and therefore guilt-free.
8. But I do confess that I have been shopping a bit too devoutly – new clothes for everybody (including myself), new bedcovers for the house, new crockery for the kitchen, new books for everybody, even new groceries for my kitchen-store. I am penitent but ecstatic.
9. To move from self to the world, here’s praying that this festive season brings hope to our strife-torn, terror-tormented planet and happiness to all of you.

7 comments:

jottingsnmusings said...

I came here from Mystic's blog Sucharita - and I am SO GLAD I did! I had a great time going through your back posts and will be back for more. You write really well, very natural and jolly somehow. Lovely blog, truly!

ugich konitari said...

Sucharita,

Isnt it funny, I do exactly the same thing on Upwas days. Load up on all the yummy Upwas stuff (without fasting myself).....:-)

Best wishes for Navratri/DurgaPuja....

Lazyani said...

Sucharita,

Seems that you are having a great festive season already. Enjoy and Sharad Shubheccha to you and family.

Mystic Margarita said...

Lovely thoughts! Feasting after fasting is very appetizing, isn't it? Have a wonderful durga puja and navratri :)

Sayani said...

i sometime wonders why the prased so tasteful (heavenly )

Going kolkata this pujo so obviously my festival have started since a week earlier as i was packing my bags

your post make me so nostalgic sometime :)
happy puja :)

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Jottings and Musings,

Welcome to my blog and thanks for the appreciation.

Hi UK, MM, Lazyani,Sayani,

Thanks for the kind wishes and happy festival days to you all, too.

Mohamed Taher said...

You have excellent blog, with all flavors and spices (exp Diwali, Id, etc.,). Congrats.

See my multifaith blog and hyderabadiz blog for the diwali, holi, and other festivals.